"Hope for Haiti Now" telethon raises $57 million
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The "Hope for Haiti Now" telethon, led by George Clooney and Haiti-born rapper Wyclef Jean, has raised more than $57 million for relief to the earthquake-ravaged country, organizers said on Saturday.
They called the $57 million a record for public donations in a disaster relief telethon, and said the figures were still "preliminary" as they exclude donations by corporations and large private donors and sales figures on website iTunes.
Organizers said the "Hope for Haiti Now" album was the biggest one-day album pre-order in iTunes history and was currently No. 1 on iTunes' album chart in 18 countries.
The two-hour telethon featured more than 100 celebrities singing songs, telling tales of loss and survival in Haiti and taking donations by phone. It was broadcast on television networks around the world, online and on mobile carriers.
Singer Alicia Keys kicked off the benefit singing "Prelude to a Kiss." U.S. rapper Jay-Z debuted a song with U2's Bono and The Edge, and R&B artist Beyonce sang her "Halo" with Coldplay's Chris Martin on piano.
Actors including Leonardo DiCaprio, Denzel Washington and Nicole Kidman told stories of Haitians who had survived and heroic tales of rescue efforts.
Proceeds will be split among relief organizations including the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund, the U.N. World Food Program, Oxfam America, the Red Cross, UNICEF and Yele Haiti Foundation.
The January 12, magnitude-7 quake killed up to 200,000 people, Haitian authorities said, and left up to 3 million people hurt or homeless and clamoring for medical assistance, food and water in the Western Hemisphere's poorest country.
(Reporting by Bob Tourtellotte; Editing by Peter Cooney)
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